How to Sell a Product and/or Service Online…
Like every other person selling a service, you want to make a sale right away. But while a few people will hire you immediately, most will not. Their interest needs to be nurtured until they’re ready to buy.
First of all, I want you to understand that selling a service is not like selling a product, they both involve two different mindsets to the potential buyer.
When you’re selling a product, the process is usually pretty straightforward. Basically, you introduce the product; explain its benefits and its guarantee (if it has one,) make a price quote, and then people make a buying decision.
Selling a service can be more involved.
Prospects first inquire about the actual service, usually comparing you with other service providers in your local area. If the service is expensive, like an installation service that requires several hours of work, then people are more cautious about their decision.
This shouldn’t surprise you. The more expensive the service, the more careful that customer is going to be about making a decision.
Think about it. If you need your bathroom painted, you might spend a whole afternoon searching Online and offline for a decent painter. If you need to build an extension onto your house, you might spend weeks or even months finding the perfect contractor for the job.
So if you provide a service, such as, window cleaning, search engine optimization, wedding photography, event planning, or even an office organizer, use your website to attract prospects and begin the process of selling them on your services.
Create your sales funnel
Professional sales people often talk about filling their “sales funnel” or “sales pipeline.”
What they mean by that is, in order to make a sale; they need people to inquire today! They need lots of people who are in the various stages of the buying process.
To keep things simple, think of the sales funnel as having 4 simple steps.
1. Generate inquiries
Typically this is done by offering something of value on your website, in exchange for your prospects contact information. (Capture a lead.)
Easy ways to generate inquiries from your blog
As a website owner, you may know a variety of ways to promote your site or blog. Obviously, the more website traffic you receive, the easier it will be to generate leads. (Opt-ins.) You don’t need a ton of traffic to make this work.
As long as you generate enough of the right kind of prospect traffic to read your site content to generate a steady stream of inquiries for my services, that’s what counts.
Don’t worry about becoming a top-ranked blogger. To successfully sell your services, you just need regular inquiries from the right kind of people. The more specialized you are, and the more targeted your blog posts, the more likely this will happen and you’ll get results.
Of course, bringing people to your blog is one thing. Generating inquiries (Opt-ins) is another, so here are some simple steps you can do to make those inquiries happen.
Contact Form — If you have a website, you must have a contact form, it goes without saying. However, the standard contact form is not enough. You need to have a form that has an auto responder, like MailChip or Aweber.
ebook – Instead of charging in for the sale why not ‘pre-sell’ your customer first with a free ebook, which provides authoritative and valuable information to answer his needs, build up his enthusiasm and narrowing down his options so that by the time he reaches the end of the ebook he is already persuaded to click through to your site and place the order.
E-Newsletter — This is an easy way to stay in touch with prospects or past clients, and provide them with great content value. Feature articles and information on your particular industry subject. Let them know about the latest research or findings, etc.
Free White Paper — While a newsletter requires an ongoing commitment, a white paper is a one-time effort. Write it, post a contact/request form, and send a link to the PDF when requests come in. You could also automate the process with an auto responder. The white paper can be “5 Tip to…” sheet, or a “How to…”
Webinars — These days it’s fairly simple to put together a webinar using services such as GoToWebinar. You can also create non-interactive presentations with software like PowerPoint or OpenOffice. The idea is to provide something of value that enables you to collect contact information.
Videos —Create simple, informative videos. They don’t have to be fancy. Just look into the camera and talk. Or edit together simple footage demonstrating your work or how you solved your prospects problem. Video can also be a helpful tool to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, webinar, social media connection, or other form of information you offer.
2. Follow up!
After they have received their freebie, (newsletter, whitepaper, etc,) it’s time to schedule your follow-up, usually either by email or by phone.
Because you are responding to someone’s inquiry, it’s not considered cold calling, or spamming. You have a valid reason for making contact and have an opportunity to gauge how serious the person is in your product or service. Inquire as to whether they are in the process of gathering information? Or are they in need of your services immediately? Or possibly they are still stuck somewhere in-between?
You will want to spend more time on your sales leads, than on finding prospects.
3. Nurture Leads
This is the step most people are tempted to skip, or even forget all about.
You should store all your prospect contact information in a database, which could be a simple customer relationship management system, or a desktop-based program such as ACT!.
Find ways to regularly communicate with your already existing leads, through emails, or through social media sites. Over time, they will become more familiar with you and your brand, and more comfortable with the idea of hiring, or buying from you. People always prefer the familiar over the unknown. The “Know” “Like” and “Trust,” method.
There are many ways to nurture leads. Send them additional offers for low-cost or introductory services, or seek their advice from time to time on a new product launch, or ask them to respond to a survey.
4. Close sales
This step is self-explanatory. A potential customer needs what you have to offer. You provide a quote or estimate, answer questions, overcome objections, and eventually close the sale.
This is your end game, the goal of your efforts. And if you’ve set up a good lead generation system and kept your sales funnel consistently full, it will actually be the easiest step in the process.
And if you did your job right, and your customer service was outstanding! Your customer will be happy to send you prospects through referrals both Online and offline. Today, through social media, it has become so much easier for people to recommend a business by making a recommendation post on social media site to all their friends. I mentioned outstanding customer service, because a dissatisfied customer, also has access to these entire social media site as well, to share her dissatisfaction with your company.
By: Fay B. Castro